Going With The Flow

By IBT Inc

August 02, 2012

Material Handling

There are conveyors and then there are conveying systems. A conveyor can move something from here to there using gravity, or motorized power – not much else. A conveying system, on the other hand, is an engineered construction of components designed to move a very specific range of items in a very precise manner.

Although there may be many elements common to all conveying systems, each one is a unique animal, as every situation that occurs in the workplace has its individual nature of objectives, complications, limitations and intricacies.

The challenge to the designers of the conveyor system is to fully explore and understand all of the factors that affect the situation, and properly deal with each and every one. In the ideal situation, the project would have unlimited budget, unlimited time and would give the system designers an opportunity to control all the factors.

Unfortunately, the real world is considerably different. And, the job of creating an effective conveying system consists mainly of gathering information about all the variables and building a system that operates with maximum reliability and minimum compromise. As soon as a prospective buyer expresses an interest in conveying, IBT begins to assemble all the facts they need to properly and professionally show the customer the full range of options available. They work closely with each customer to develop the system that is needed today – while taking future allowances and expansion into consideration.

The final stage is the development process involves Allen Vaughn, Applications Engineer. It is not overstating the case to say that conveyors and conveying systems have always been an essential part of Allen’s work life. His first job was for a company that manufactured conveyor components. So, he learned not only what conveyors can do – he also learned how they do it – from the ball bearings, up.

At IBT, Allen’s job is to take all the information that is gathered from the customer and produce a detailed proposal. The proposals speak to such questions as how the system will work, what it will cost, what it will look like, and how long it will take to get it ordered, assembled, installed and turned on – including the training of the customer’s staff.

Sometimes, this requires that Allen actually come look at the site. At other times, drawing upon years of experience and a large number of previous projects, he is able to use the information that has been carefully assembled to visualize a system that is just the ticket – meeting all customer requirements, including time and money. Computerization, he reports, can make this challenge easier to accomplish. Using CAD systems, the designer can develop a system with the confidence. If specifications change or need re-work, modifying the plan is much easier than in “the old days.”

Manufacturer support also helps when they supply their information in a computerized format. The designers can develop estimates and bills of materials required for a specific system much more quickly. As the development part of the process draws to its conclusion, all the specifications get locked into place. Once that is accomplished, and the final bid is accepted, IBT stands behind the bid, unconditionally. They will put the agreed system to in place, for the budget that has been approved. And they will make it run – if not like a Swiss clock, at least like the well-designed and thoroughly engineered system that it is.

As a result of their disciplined process and their experienced people, IBT has been able to design and build major conveying systems for a wide-range of customers, moving diverse types of items and materials, through a vast number of plants and facilities. But, there is one thing all these diverse systems have in common: the pride of the IBT people involved in helping their customers get the job done, the goods moved and the system perfected. It’s all because they have a system.

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